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Tuesday, Sep. 2, 2014

Recently opened fabric and craft store fills a need

Sunday, January 6, 2008

(Photo)
Quilting Fabrics and Crafts owners and employees, from left are Helean Baccus, Georgia McAfee's mother and a quilter; Juda Worley, sister to David McAfee; and owners Georgia McAfee and David McAfee.
SIKESTON -- Georgia and David McAfee didn't know a thing about sewing when they opened a fabric and craft store three months ago.

All they knew was that there was a need for a fabric and craft store locally. "Otherwise, people would have to go to Cape," said McAfee.

For some time, the McAfees had wanted to start a small business -- they were just searching for the perfect venture. And the idea came to them over coffee one morning.

Since they opened the store in October, they get affirmation each day that it was a good idea. "Customers walk in the door and they say 'I'm so glad you did this,'" said Mrs. McAfee.

"Those are probably some of the best words to our ears," said McAfee.

Although the two don't have a lot of sewing experience, Mrs. McAfee's mother is an avid quilter and helps out -- in addition to selling some of her handiwork at the store. Customer suggestions have also helped the store, which was gutted and completely remodeled.

"Our customers have been our biggest asset," said McAfee.

"They're really trying to give us ideas of what they need," agreed Mrs. McAfee. "They're teaching us a lot, and I know more about sewing now than I thought I ever would."

The McAfees said that customers need to let them know if there are any items they want added to the stock. In fact, the owners keep a notebook at the register to track customer suggestions.

"The first week or so, that notebook really filled up," said Mrs. McAfee.

The McAfees said the store is quite spacious and will fill up, with time. "We wanted to start out small, because we want to be here tomorrow," said Mrs. McAfee.

They said that a wide variety of craft items are available. "We're not just a quilting store," said McAfee.

The two said the prices there are quite competitive, and they want the product to be affordable.

A popular item has been pre-printed quilt blocks, of which the store has one of the largest selections in the area.

"And if we don't have what they want, we can order it and have it in the next day," said McAfee.

Embroidery floss is another big seller, of which the store stocks three brands, he added.

"We have the best selection," said Mrs. McAfee. "If they can't find the color they need here, it's because (the retailer) doesn't make it."

McAfee pointed out that there is also a need for sewing machine repair. This month, he will attend a training, and likely provide the service by the end of the month.

All sorts of people visit the store -- including men and younger women. Mrs. McAfee said that there are a lot of young girls -- ranging in age from 6 to 12 -- who are taking an interest in first-time embroidery kits.

"We're getting a lot of curious customers," she continued. Her husband said that there is also quite a bit of repeat business.

The store is also gearing up for a most popular quilt contest next month. Those who submit handmade quilts are eligible for gift certificates, with winners voted on by store customers.

Although there isn't anyone on staff to help with alterations, a "service board" is posted in the store, where those who need help or want to help others can display their contact information.

Gift certificates are also available.

And Mrs. McAfee is learning a bit about the quilting business -- since opening, she has made some quilt blocks, something she'd never done before. Now, she said she sees how easy it is for people to get addicted to the hobby.

"I'm having more fun than I thought I'd ever have," said Mrs. McAfee. "I'm having a blast."

Quilting Fabrics and Crafts is located at 620 South Kingshighway; the phone number is 475-9393. It is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday.